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Narcotics: Pit of Despair (Part II)

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Narcotics: Pit of Despair (Part II)

Published 1967

Dark vision of drug use and its effect on American youth.

Run time 14:51
Producer Marshall (Mel)
Sponsor N/A
Audio/Visual Sd, C


Tells the story of a boy from a good home who begins using narcotics 'JUST FOR KICKS' and later becomes addicted to the point where he is dropped out of school and eventually arrested.

One of the definitive drug films of the sixties, Pit of Despair was well known to high school A-V squads. By now, we've seen and heard most of the anti-drug clichŽs, but it's still a surprise to find so many encapsulated into a single film.

Ken Smith remarks: It's a fat field, but this is the quintessential drug film. "peddlers of misery who prey on the unwary, the uninformed, the curious, the thrillseekers. Most young people will continue through life as normal, responsible citizens. Others -- the shunted and unloved, the unguided, the seekers of thrills and kicks, will become candidates for the slave world of life-long drug addiction. But no one is immune." "The formula is generally the same. Take a life of responsibility, the inability to make right choices, add to it ignorance and indifference, and top it off with a desire for escapism and kicks. The sum total is then conceivably found in the bennies, the reefer, the pot needle." "too busy with his girl, his car, his sports" sandy-haired and snaggle-toothed, John drives a snazzy british sports car; Pete is a bearded groovester who wears a ribbed turtleneck with a zippered front "...pep himself up on bennies. He's handled them before and he knows where to draw the line." "a private party...plenty of fun and laughs." "take a break from the books and live a little" "the responsibilities of growing up" "strongly etched in his character" are "the practice of putting things off, making excuses, shirking unpleasent tasks" decides to "join the party" groovy Farfisa organ Zombies music "John doesn't realize it, but he's just been cast as the star fall-guy in a real-life tragedy" narrator as nagging bad conscience; can say things no actor would; Helen flutters her false eyelashes, thrusts forward her large breasts, and lures John into the web; handheld party camera work "The exhertion of the dance, the excitement of Helen and several beers have taken effect. Inhibition and caution are forgotten. When Helen suggests they have a few more beers, he's all for it. Why not? Everyone else is doing it. To refuse would be 'square.' Besides, he's never been high on it before. And he never will. He can handle the stuff." "under the influence of the beer" she's a "hype" with a police record, "the swinger," "the hip chick of the gang" the garage is where "some of the gang are really blasting" "that's where the real action is" "Come on and take a look. Take a trip from 'Squaresville'. Live a little." "Why not? It can't do any harm to -- look." "the trippers, the grasshoppers, the hip ones" "flying high as a kite" in "their phony world of kicks" "Forget it, man, and get with the countdown. Shake this square world and blast off for Kicksville." "the feeling of 'putting one over'" "individuality, willpower, character are slipping down the drain" "the old behavior habits and excuses" "a few harmless puffs -- just to see what it's like" "Drag it, man! Try anything once! Fly! You can't get a habit from weed!" "John surrenders his dignity and lays his future on the chopping block" "Now he's too involved to think. He's having KICKS. He's away and flying. Up, up, out of this world."
"But everything that goes up must come down." "escape from the troubles he brings on himself" "he's become psychologically dependent" "He thinks only a pal can help. Help split this square world." "Psychologically he's ready to make the 'big scene'. Caution, intelligence, normal defenses go up in pot smoke." "his confused brain" "the real blast" "living hell" "venom" "Of every thousand hypes who ride the toboggan to hell, only a few ever get off." "John isn't afraid, and he ceratinly isn't 'square'." "Sweat it out, pal. You wanted kicks. Now pay the price." "At first it seemed like such harmless fun. It was hip to go along with the gang. But where's the gang now?" (and where are his parents?) "Too late he realizes that by joining to belong, he's more alone than ever." Whowho-whoooooooahhhhhhhguhguhguggggg! "The agony will reach it's peak in 36 to 72 hours and continue for two more weeks." "Cool it. Cut it. Strangle it. In the jungle land of narcotics, it's fight, claw, kill, and every man for himself." steals his mom's "best silverware" "no one must ever know he's a hopeless junkie" "shame" "stigma" suit-wearing cops burst in and arrest "another small tentacle of the drug octopus is cut off" "with a police record to haunt him as long as he lives" (fair?) "the very best treatment modern science can give" "I wonder if Pete and Hank are out of prison yet? Won't do any harm to just stop by and say hello...." There is NO END.

12:16:43 CU cobra snake
12:18:01 VS of students outside school campus
12:20:05 CU man (at running track) reflectively looking TO: great zoom in on bearded guy behind fence
12:23:26 overhead shot of party with streamers, balloons and people dancing TO: various CU shots of people euphorically dancing
12:27:51 LS of people getting high
12:31:39 MS male student in classroom receiving a 'D' on test
12:31:55 MLS from above and through fence of 2 men in 'drug deal'
12:32:31 CU 2 men in car smoking marijuana
12:32:22 LS man intoxicated stumbling into 3 women and negotiating crosswalk awkwardly
12:32:31 MS from below of looking up at man in delirium looking down at off screen space, the curb
12:33:35 CU 2 men rolling marijuana cigarettes
12:34:42 CU of man's hands preparing heroin needle
12:37:00 MS man shooting up heroin to CU
12:39:31 MS man having heroin withdrawal DT's
12:40:50 MS man shooting up man with DT's zoom in to XCU of arm and syringe shooting heroin
12:42:15 LS man entering 'pawn shop' - sign visible
12:42:39 LS policeman entering 'police department'
12:43:35 LS drug bust 2 police officers, 3 drug offenders
12:43:45 LS man in prison, MS guard opens jail door


Reviewer: RoboReview - favoritefavoritefavorite - July 17, 2015
Subject: Pit of stupidity
The entire premise of this dated-even-for-its-time extravaganza, with its Oscar-caliber junkie withdrawal fit by Kevin Tighe (who would later star in ... wait for it . . . TV's "Emergency!") and scary-sounding bongo soundtrack, reminds me of a famous joke by iconoclast Bill Hicks:

First dude: "Look at me, man! I took drugs, and look what happened to me! I lost my job, my car, my house and my family! Don't do drugs, man!"

(pause) Second dude: "Well, I'm sure not doin' 'em with YOU!"
Reviewer: jegler - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 31, 2011
Subject: enticing
This film made we want to do drugs!! and it's got a dance party scene that one can use for their band videos.
Reviewer: ERD - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 15, 2006
Subject: Good Preventitive film for the 1967 youth(Part I & 2)
For its time, this was a good film for youngsters to realize the dangers of taking narcotics. Perhaps now it seems somewhat melodramtic. Unfortunately, the problem is far from over.
Reviewer: scrounge - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 29, 2005
Subject: Before ringers lactate there was bennies and heroin
Interesting film with Kevin Tighe from the 1970's Emergency show starring as a person who spirals quickly down in various drug addictions. "Only squares get hooked" the narrator tells us in this voiced over film. This film depicts the character Hank (with narration) in a course of shooting smack -101. The party's over when the the swinger Helen is jonesing in police custody.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 18, 2003
Subject: "Shake this square world and head off for Kicksville!"
Watching this film and realizing Kevin Tighe (Emergency!) just makes it that much more fun. Let's see, the movie was made in 1967. Tighe was born in 1944, making him one of the most oldest high school students in recent memory. Anyways, he's suffering in school, so what is a hick kid to do? He turns to drugs. First pills, then pot, then heroin. It's pretty amazing how much of an immediate dowspiral he takes. One moment he's trying heroin for the first time, the next moment he's selling his mom's silverware. Luckily an addict was caught, and, realizing she couldnt get any more heroin, rats on everyone and everybody! The ending is similar to 'Drug Addiction'. I thought this film was great! Highly reccomended!
Reviewer: carnabyfudge - favoritefavoritefavorite - June 14, 2003
Subject: Watson, quick, the needle!
so pot smoking leads straight to heroin and inevitable addiction?
what about hash? opium? LSD? crystal meth?
Slow down boy, enjoy your inexorable slide into dependancy.
And thanks guys for the explicit tips on how to cook heroin. I'm going to hitch up the white horse immediately!
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